Column: McCain At The Forefront Of Our Failing Politicians

This story was written by Nik Antovich, Oregon Daily Emerald

Our country isn't producing the leaders we need in government. Have you ever noticed a difference between leaders in the public sector and those in the private? When you ask leaders in the private sector why they do what they do, they'll tell you it's to make money; this answer is true. Pose the same question to a politician, they will tell you it's to make life better for their constituency; this answer is false.

Lately it seems like I've been picking on John McCain. I don't do it on purpose, but he is supposed to be my guy, and he is making me feel like a fool for supporting him. He has no core principles from which to draw upon when crafting policy. His bipartisanship is really just a euphemism for a failure to successfully negotiate the passage of certain bills. Don't believe me? Then tell me why Barack Obama is being heralded as the only presidential candidate who can end party politics when he has voted in line with his party for the entirety of his short career as a senator?

Recently McCain gave a speech in which he said the Iraq war would be won by 2013. He also mentioned that he sees Osama bin Laden either captured or dead in the same period of time. This is unacceptable. I understand and accept the fact that we will have to leave residual forces in Iraq for a while, just as we did in Japan and Germany. But if we couldn't win the war in the past five years, what makes McCain think we can win it in the next? The same goes for bin Laden.

What exactly was the point of the surge? Why did I support the highly publicized deployment of 20,000 troops to Iraq? Because John McCain told me it was going to allow the Iraqi government enough time to get its you-know-what together and prepare to govern the country with a greatly and permanently reduced U.S. presence.

These are the types of policies that make me grind my teeth at night. I spend the last five years defending an indefensible war naively believing what our political leaders tell me. I should have known better. I spend the majority of my time lamenting about how thickheaded politicians are, and here I am suckin' up almost every word they utter about Iraq. It's a lesson I will remember for the rest of my life.

They're charlatans, all of them. What McCain revealed in his last speech is that he has no idea when we will get out of Iraq. If I have to choose between staying in Iraq for another five years and getting out now, I enthusiastically choose the latter.

McCain's reasons for staying in Iraq could be considered commendable, if they didn't come at the expense of dead Americans: "It would be a grave mistake to leave before al-Qaida in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively. We must help the government of Iraq battle those who provoke sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East. Iraq must not become a failed state, a haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran. These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war."

A far costlier war? You can't get much more expensive than five more years in Iraq. It's cheaper to fly all Iraqi citizens first class to America, absorb the increased employment needs, and bomb the hell out of Iraq, than it is to stay in the country for another five years. It's like McCain has been drunk for the past half-decade and time has been flying by. I swear, these people can't do anything right!

But I'm the real idiot here, right? McCain duped me. I watched him travel to Iraq wearing his bullet-proof vest more times than any other politician, I appreciated the fact he is a ranking member of the Armed Serices Committee. Turns out this was all a faade, one that was in place to make me think he was the most qualified to successfully end the Iraq war. In reality, what do his visits really confirm? "The Republicans believe that the Iraqi war is very important in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East," said Wael Abdul Latif, an independent Shiite member of the Iraqi Parliament. "It's a message to Iran that the United States will never leave, even after Bush is gone." Excellent!

At some point you have review cost-benefit analysis. The idea that more American soldiers need to die in the name of the ones that already have is insane. I want to make one thing clear: It is not the military that failed us. It is politicians.

The Senator from Arizona is going to finish what President Bush started alright. He is going to finish the dissolution of the Republican Party.

McCain wants to be a straight talker? Then he should tell me he has no clue when we can leave Iraq and "win" the war. He's no leader, he's a pundit. He'd be better suited sitting across from Sean Hannity. Senator McCain, you make me wish I could get my ballot back and vote for Ron Paul.